Confident Black Men and Women Scare America

I have written about LaVar Ball since he popped on the scene because in the beginning I felt like it was a click bait story. You want to get a couple shares, a couple retweets, write about LaVar Ball. So I stayed away from it but then something happened. I started to see the hypocrisy in the way we society views black men and independence. Let me give you a couple of examples.

  1. Nike exec George Raveling on LaVar Ball: “The worst thing to happen to basketball in the last hundred years.”
  2. Unnamed NFL Coaches, “Colin Kaepernick is a traitor and I would never want him on my team.”
  3. Republican Congressman, “Obama took 400,000 for a speech; we need to take his pension.”

What do all three of these things have in common?  The black men involved weren’t docile enough.

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Why is that whenever I hear about Lavar Ball I never hear that he’s been convicted of any crimes? Why is it that I’ve never heard of his sons getting in trouble or of him hitting his wife? Why is it that I haven’t seen one piece on him being a good father and mentor while I’ve seen two hundred stories on black boys and them surviving without fathers? That’s not the story they want to put out there, they’d rather focus on how bad of a guy he is because he doesn’t want to take their handouts.

Now let’s talk about Kaepernick, teams were saying he’s asking for too much money and most people were happy to accept that was the truth. Meanwhile he comes out and says, “No one has talked to me or returned my calls so how would they know what I’m asking?” Guys have beat their wives, killed people drunk driving, fixed games and the worst person in the league is a guy that took a knee to bring awareness to cops killing black men and women?

Lastly, President Obama was criticized and attacked more than any President in history when there was no basis for it. The worst thing he probably did was wear that tan suit that time. After eight years of this Republicans lost their minds seeing him on vacations and smiling. They lost their minds that he and his wife got this huge book deal and they lost their minds even more when it came out that he was getting 400k for a speech. I live in Texas, ex-politicians and athletes have been getting paid for years to give speeches but now it’s a problem?

Confident Black Men scare America because they hate our strength. When Tiger Woods was winning Majors he was “Blasian,” I’d honestly never heard that term in my life. When he got caught cheating, he was a black man. When Kanye West said, “Yeezy’s will jump over Jordan’s,” we laughed and said no one buys Adidas. Now you can’t find a pair of Yeezy’s anywhere, they stay sold out.

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Lavar Ball says, “If the Lakers draft my son, they’ll make the playoffs next year.” He didn’t say they’ll win a Championship or that his son will be the best Laker of all time. He said a team full of young talent with a pass first point guard could make the playoffs. People are literally hostile at that. He has confidence in his son and that makes you uncomfortable? Just because Archie Manning wasn’t on TV every day doesn’t mean he wasn’t behind the scenes making sure his sons were taken care of.

5:01am In Paris; Met Langston Hughes 

It’s 5:01am here in the City of Love and so far I’m not sure how Paris, France got that name. It would be like calling the United States the City of Tolerance. Thursday was filled with flight cancellations, sick guys on planes and an upset stomach. 

Friday wasn’t turning out much better. We arrived at around 9:00am and since then we’ve walked a dozen miles and had to change hotels. I was this close to hoping on a plane and taking my privileged American ass home but then Paris reminded me it was Paris. 

Wine in a cafe at midnight while I bored my date with details of Langston Hughes and the Paris Transfer written by Arnold Ramperstad. Walking back to the hotel and getting lost, turning a corner and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. Ordering steak tar tar and not realizing it was raw meat, being too prideful to admit my mistake but the waisteess realizing no one orders raw meat. This has been my first day in Paris. 

I miss Whataburger, regular sized restrooms and AC but for someone as serious as I am. Sometimes it’s okay to not have a plan. 

I wonder what day two holds in store. 

I Don’t Want to Survive; I Want to Thrive

img_2103“Grab her by the pussy.” No matter how many times I hear it in my head I can’t help but to laugh. Not one of those gut busting, tears coming out of my eyes laughs, but one of those this is crazy laughs. I’m not laughing this morning and neither are most of the men and women I know.

I keep hearing how African Americans survived slavery and survived Jim Crow and survived the harshness of the Civil Rights Movement and the Reagan era. Stop telling me how we survived mass incarceration. “We survived all that, we’ll survive Donald Trump as President.” It’s not Trump I’m afraid of, it’s Trump’s America that scares me. A world of racial profiling and 4 dollar a gallon gas. I am not my ancestors and I love them for surviving and living but I choose not to survive. I choose to thrive. I choose to not sit at home behind my computer and sulk and be afraid and not cause trouble at work. I choose to hold my head up high, walk into my office and remind anyone that’s jubilant about last night’s victory that we have HR for a reason and I won’t threaten you are curse you out. I will simply write an email getting you fired for discussing politics at work.

Last night was my youngest sister’s 15th birthday. When we were having dinner she told us she got a letter from Stanford University to come visit the school and be a part of a program. She is incredibly smart and mature, she writes short stories and loves photography. Her future is as bright as she wants it to be, that doesn’t stop because of Trump or his supporters. Today’s weather mirrors how my heart feels. Dark, cold, unsettling but with a new day comes a new sky and with a new sky comes the ability to rise above this America we are now living in.

I don’t want to survive. I don’t want to get disrespected and marginalized and not get the same opportunities and be okay with it. Surviving is what our ancestors did because they had no choice because it was survive or die. We have a choice, not just to survive but to thrive. We have a choice on whether or not we want to build something and make something of ourselves or survive. On whether or not we want to accept racism, sexism, elitism and survive or look racism, sexism and elitism in the face and say, “Move or get ran over.”

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An Open Letter to My Brothers

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Keisha, Alexandria and Natasha

Dear Black Men,

Donald Trump created an entire fake University just to rip people off and he’s one of two people in America that are vying to become our President. A white college male in California raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster and is basically getting 3 months. As I’m tying this a black man is probably getting sentenced to years over weed when it’s legal in several states and most cities don’t even arrest you for small amounts anymore. These are all facts and these are all things that need to be addressed. I am not addressing them in this letter. In this letter I want to talk about the three woman that were murdered this week by men that look like you and I. Not because of gang violence, not because of police but because of domestic violence and this idea that, “If I can’t have you, no one can.”

Earlier this week I talked about how there has never been a race of women that existed that love black men more than black women. They will literally sacrifice their last for us, our mothers, our sisters, our aunts but more than anything; the women that love us in a romantic way. When a woman loves you, it’s with her entire being. She feels your pain and love in her soul and what’s hers is yours. The thing is though, if you don’t appreciate it, you’ll lose it and once you lose it, you have to her go.

Someone is going to read this and think that I’m saying all black men are woman beaters or all black men look the other way when it comes to domestic violence. Someone will read this and say, “What about white men?” “What about police?” Let me be clear. I speak to black men when it comes to protecting black women because no one else will. This week, three black women were shot and killed by men that should have been protecting them whether they were together or not. If a woman is the mother of your children, you should always want to make sure she’s good. We are spending too much time and energy fighting each other when we need to be looking out for each other.

If my friend or my brother or a co-worker tell me they are having problems at home or problems getting over a breakup. It’s my job as a man to talk to them, to see where their head is at. It’s my job and responsibility to let them know, “Bro, let shorty go, it’s going to be alright. You weren’t good to her when you had her and now that she’s finally happy you want to terrorize her even more?”

Black women used to give themselves to slave owners just so black men wouldn’t get beat or sold. When black men were getting lynched and locked up in the 50’s and 60’s, black women bailed us out and picked up the picket signs. When drugs hit the community and entire neighborhoods and cities lost black men to prison; our women held our sons and daughters together. Even now, with every other rap lyric and social media debate attacking black women, they’ve never let our side. So it’s up to us as men to stop looking the other way when we see domestic violence. When we see our brother, our friend, is about to lose it. We can’t laugh it off or belittle him. We have to make him understand, let her go.

I get sick to my stomach having to prove I’m not a criminal every time I get pulled over. Having to prove I’m qualified every time I work on a new project at work. Having to wait just a tad bit longer for my meal at a nice restaurant because, “He’s probably not going to tip well.” But what really kills me is watching little black boys and girls be raised without a mother. We have to fight the world everyday, we can’t fight each other.

I’m aware all three of these women weren’t murdered by ex’s in their lives. But they are still black women that were taken too soon. Domestic violence and domestic terrorism are the same to me. 

It’s All Love,

Demez

How to Discredit A Black Man? Just Call Him Angry

Kanye West and Eddie Murphy

Kanye West and Eddie Murphy

This morning Kanye West gave an interview on the popular morning radio show the Breakfast Club and almost immediately the reactions started to pour in. Everything from he supports child molesters and slut shaming to he’s crazy for loving his wife. Now to be fair you also had the “he’s a genius crowd,” which is also understandable.

Let’s talk for a minute about what Kanye is. He’s a man that’s pretty open about his faith, one of his biggest hits was “Jesus Walks.” He’s a man that dropped out of college to literally become one of the biggest musical stars in the world. Something we praise Mark Zuckerburg and Steve Jobs for. He’s never been in prison or fathered a bunch of children. He’s never glorified the selling of drugs of pimping and killing of women or children. Everyone that works with him talks about his work ethic and passion.

Let’s talk about who Eddie Murphy is. This is a man that at 19 saved Saturday Night Live. A writer, actor and director that has always hired black people not just in front of the camera but behind the camera. Everyone he’s worked with raves about his loyalty and comedic timing.

Both are proud and talented men who’ve recently been given the “angry” label. Eddie Murphy chose not to make fun and mock a man he’s looked up to for all his life so he’s “angry.” Kanye talks about his love for his wife, defends his best friends wife, makes a song dedicated to his daughter and late mom. He isn’t passionate or a standup guy he’s angry and emotional.

We diminish black men’s thoughts and concerns by reducing them to temper tantrums. We allow the media and trolls to highlight a sentence here or quote there and turn a valid point into a catchy punch line.

I’ve often been accused of being too serious but the world lacks serious men. Everything can’t be about getting a laugh or fitting in. You have to stand for something. And if you decide to stand for something and have a voice people will try and silence that voice.

Dear America: Don’t Judge Us By the Worst of Us

Dear America,

Don’t judge me by the worst of my race and I won’t judge you by the worst of yours.

Who am I? I’m a black man that’s a stereotype, that’s a statistic. I grew up with a father that had a lot of kids he didn’t bother getting to know. I grew up in a neighborhood with gangs and drugs and a school district that had low test scores. Who am I? I’m a man that has refused to let any of that define me.

Often times when social issues come up other races and even some black people believe we take up for anyone regardless of their crime. That’s foolish and just not true.

My grandmother is 73 years old. She lives alone. If a 19 year old black kid breaks into her home and harms her are I or anyone I know going to cry for him? Are we going to wear t-shirts or say the police were too rough? No. Every circumstance is different and what is igniting these fires is the extreme nature of these cases. Not officers doing their jobs.

What if I judged every white person I met off of the comments I read on a Fox News post? What if I judged every white person I met off the pictures of that little girl going into a school and adults spitting at her and cursing her? What if I judged all of you based on a man choking another to death while he’s not fighting back? So don’t throw statistics about black crime at me. Don’t compare civil unrest to gang banging, criminals, thugs. You don’t judge me by the worst of my generation and I won’t judge you by the worst of yours.

We all have a decision to make. Stand up for what’s right or live your life as a coward.

Sincerely Yours,

Demez F. White

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My Conflict With America and Myself: A History We Can’t Ignore

a flag I was driving on US 59 and Fannin yesterday when I saw a billboard about celebrating the revolutionaries. You know the names, George Washington, Ben Franklin, these great men that liberated America from the British and started maybe the greatest country the world has ever seen. In that moment of thinking about how I couldn’t wait to go to the Museum of Fine Arts because I love history I felt a great sense of sadness. Sadness because I was excited to go read about and view the history of men that enslaved my ancestors.

Imagine that for a second. Africans and Europeans and countries and civilizations all over the world took part in slavery for centuries but only in America, this land of the free and the brave did that take it to such a level that even other countries said, “What the hell?!”

George Washington, the first President of our great nation owned slaves. Thomas Jefferson had more little mixed kids than any pro athlete or rapper we could think of. We romanticize these men and celebrate them in history books and museums when they looked at us as property. They would have rather saw us enslaved than free us to help them fight the British and they’re my heroes?

It’s no secret that if Abraham Lincoln could have kept the country from going to war he would have let the South keep slavery. Even to men in the north that thought slavery was uncouth they mostly felt that way because of money. Southerners were getting rich off free labor and the north couldn’t compete.

I don’t want to make this about just African Americans and all we endured. Let’s talk about our beloved America. I won’t ignore the 400 years of slavery and the Reconstruction period and the Civil Rights Period and the Regan Crack Laws that decimated my father’s generation. I’ll table that for now. America had Chinese people build the railroads, after they built the railroads they were put in concentration camps. Millions died trying to connect the east coast to the west coast. America literally wiped out Native Americans, Google the “Trail of Tears,” there was no room for savages they said. America took Manifest Destiny and wiped out all of what is now Southern and Western America. We look at the Alamo as Americans standing up to the big bad Mexicans when in fact it was us taking their land and their homes. I could go on and on but understand my conflict, I still love this country that has done so much wrong to so many people. I still feel like I couldn’t have the life I have if I didn’t live here. That bothers me and I wish I could explain the nights I sit up and try to imagine what my ancestors had to go through.

Racism still exist, classism is only getting bigger. The food we eat is damn near poison, the prices we pay are 400 times what they cost to make it. Nothing has changed with this country I love but the packaging. That’s what hurts me most of all.